the home of [Belgian] fashion since 2002
Join ModeMuseum’s director, Kaat Debo, on a tour of our beautiful home at the ModeNatie. In this video, you will be introduced to our exciting space, its rich history, and our mission to educate, as well as present, the best of Belgium’s designers to the world.
ModeNatie: One Building, One Mission, Three Organisations
You can find Fashion Museum Antwerp (MoMu) at ModeNatie on the Nationalestraat, in the heart of the Antwerp’s fashion district. Located alongside MoMu in ModeNatie are the Flanders DC for Fashion and the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Art.
ModeNatie is a unique union of conservation, presentation, and creation that furthers our aims to document and celebrate Belgium's cultural production. Built in the 19th century as a New England Menswear and Children’s department store, ModeNatie underwent a thorough renovation in 2000, led by Ghent-based architect Marie-José Van Hee with the intent to create "a context for fashion and clothing behaviour".
In about 1770, the combination of skirt and jacket became fashionable. Their deshabillé [informal] character nonetheless remained unchanged. Depending on the nature of the jacket, it could either be tailored, or more commonly, loosely fitted. In France, the tailored jacked acquired the name of caraco or pierrot.
This sophisticated silhouette was part of Olivier Theyskens's first haute couture inspired collection for Rochas. The silk dress and coat are embellished with stylised leaf patterns and bands of machine lace, and the lace reveals luxurious printed fabric underneath, showing Theyskens's sensual and romantic approach to a heritage brand.
In military terms, the vanguard, or in French avant-garde, is the first troops to face battle: the first push into unknown territory. The avant-garde are also artists and designers at the front lines of cultural changes. They are revolutionaries, stretching boundaries and engaging with new materials, movements, and ways of seeing.
At MoMu, our scenography is a collaborative effort to match the innovative character of the designers we proudly display.
MoMu's interdisciplinary exhibitions embrace the iconoclastic mood of the designers showcased. New commissions and multimedia productions serve the museum’s greenhouse function for accelerating new talents in the fashion and art world.
The ModeNatie also holds the MoMu library and reading room. The library houses thousands of materials on designers from across the globe, while maintaining a focus on Belgian fashion and textiles. In our reading room, anyone can request to handle materials from our Study Collection of historic and contemporary pieces – many of which will soon be available to browse in our forthcoming online database.
De Geyter Pittoors's collection ‘How To Catch A Fish’ won this esteemed prize with its quest for inner happiness and authenticity in a fast-paced world. After the degree show, her silhouettes were installed in MoMu’s Gallery, bringing her journey for a more contemplative life to one Antwerp’s busiest districts.
"Is it too much to say that MoMu is one of the few museums in Belgium which enjoys a true influence and a great prestige internationally, and continues to share its knowledge in such an in-depth as well as enthusiastic way with the both specialized and non-specialized public? No, it isn’t! And is the enduring success of the Belgian fashion industry at home and abroad, not also due to… MoMu. Yes, it is!"
Chris Dercon, Art Historian and Former Director of the Tate Modern, London
Thanks to the many photographer who have allowed us to use their images:
Stany Dederen, Hugo Maertens, and Boy Kortekaas (MoMu collections/scenography photoshoots)
Sonja De Wolf